OPQS Best Moments 2013: Styby Wins by Centimeters
The next 2013 OPQS Big Moment involves Former Cyclocross World Champion Zdenek Stybar. The Czech rider used his multi-discipline bike skills to his advantage on a technical parcours in the final 10km of La Vuelta a Espana Stage 7, and it allowed he and World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) the chance to stay away by mere seconds in the 205.9km stage.
As Styby saw the peloton approaching, he chose to launch his sprint rather than play games with his Belgian break mate. Stybar held off Gilbert by less than a bike width in a thrilling photo finish. The win was also crucial for OPQS morale after Tony Martin was caught in the final meters the previous stage, despite a heroic 170-plus kilometer solo breakaway attempt that had the cycling world in awe. Finally, the win gave OPQS a victory in all three 2013 grand tours.
"Tony Martin was really my inspiration, and I know all my teammates were just as motivated because of him," Stybar said. "I decided to go for an attack in the final after speaking with my sport director, because we had powerful sprinters like Gianni Meersman and Andrew Fenn waiting to pounce if I was brought back. But, those technical final kilometers really made it difficult for anyone to catch us — maybe even because Gilbert and I also worked so well together. He was the World Champion after all, which made it no surprise that he made it back to me when I was forced to launch my sprint with the guys closing in on us. For me, it was extra sweet because we honored Tony's effort the day before, and also I was riding with not so fresh legs after two wins and the overall victory at Eneco Tour. It was definitely a super proud moment for me and my teammates. It really made me understand my potential as a road rider, and that all my hard work had paid off."